It is so easy to forget the past and get caught up in your every day life. There are bills, work, family life, and the every day monotony of life that can keep you from realizing how far you may have come in your life. I turned 30 years old last month. It was a hard few days to realize that number and to say goodbye to my twenties. As a woman aging is so much more difficult than you want to admit at times. Aging can feel like a limitation in so many ways. I have realized that I have entered a new stage of my life and with that I looked back at the events that have pushed me forward as well.
20 Years ago my father passed away. He committed suicide and ended an era of my life that had been riddled with abuse from my step mother. I was a tormented child who questioned everything within myself but hardly spoke aloud. I was fearful and alone in so very many ways. I was ashamed of things that had happened to me as though I had been able to control any of those events. I witnessed so very many horrible things that made me look at the world in a trembling way. I was awkward and unsure of myself and it led me to be a troubled and depressed teenager.
15 Years ago my world was desperation. I was trying to break free of the mold that my childhood had set me up with. I wanted to fit in, but I felt like someone who no one cared for. I craved love but could not find anyone that I thought loved me. It was a dark time for me as I struggled with my own thoughts of death and depression. When I looked around me I was envious of others because I felt that they had so much more in their lives than my own. I struggled and I barely survived.
10 Years ago I thought that I had fallen in love only to end up with a broken heart. I thought that I had finally met someone who could see me, but I realized that I was only pushing all my hopes onto someone who had no real understanding of me as a person. I went through another dark period in my life as I questioned what was so wrong within me that would keep others from caring for me. At the end of my questioning I met someone who I let take advantage of me because he said all the things that I had so desperately wanted to hear. My desperation led me to betray myself and eventually I found that I had made a horrible choice in a partner. So often we choose poorly when our lives are not as we wish they were. I struggled and fought myself to find my worth and to eventually rise above what others had deemed me to be.
5 Years ago I found my courage and strength. I realized through my daughter what type of woman I was capable of being. That person that I had a relationship with had fathered her but never taken the time to care for anything but himself. His family started legal proceedings against me to save their own face and names. I fought for her like I had never fought anything before in my life. I wanted to protect her from these people and their immoral lifestyles. I was scared like I had never been scared before. I stayed awake at night and I cried for days, but in the end I gathered my strength despite myself. I found a part of myself that I didn’t know had existed and I used it to protect my daughter from dangerous people.
Today, I can say that I won. After 10 years of being lost as a child and teenager, after 3 years of bad relationships, after 7 years of legal battles and financial burdens I have finally come to see the light. My life has been a struggle since my birth. My mother abandoned me, my father killed himself, I have lost “friends,” I have been broken hearted, but I have loved. I have found love. I am loved. I found my strength. I found my purpose. I found courage and because of all of that I found my voice as a woman.
I may be aging, but with my age comes lessons and wisdom. My body may be growing weaker or more tired, but I am stronger today than I ever was before. I have 3 beautiful children who make my days full and give me more joy than anything ever has. I am their world and they are mine.
I have a supportive husband who has faith in me. We have a relationship unlike any other that we know. We fight, but we also love more deeply than many others. We respect one another and in the end we are friends. Our friendship keeps us grounded and keeps us moving forward. We may not last forever but today, I cannot say that I see an end in sight. I have made stronger friendships with people because of my losses. I am smarter about those people who I allow in my life. I can give to others and know that I will not allow myself to be taken advantage of because I am no longer an insecure girl looking for love.
I have found love and I can say that it is more than what I thought I had wanted. It is more because it is pure and it is real. I tried to force it before and true love cannot be forced it simply is.